NL says there is no deal with Husky’s demand for “huge” money

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The Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Finance says there is no way to support an oil company that threatens to shut down a $ 2.2 billion project.Siobhan Coady told reporters Thursday that Husky Energy had come to seek new investment in the West White Rose expansion project, but the province was unable to help.

The province already has a 5% stake in the development and Coady said it has given it all.

“They came to look for a considerable investment in this project,” she said. “We just don’t have the financial capacity to give them the big amount of money they’re looking for.

Finance Minister Siobhan Coady says the province has nothing more to give to Husky Energy. (Mark Quinn / CBC)

Husky is also calling on the federal government for support. Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said on Wednesday he was “at the table with the province right now” to determine next steps.

A senior vice president at Husky said the company was seeking an arrangement similar to the Ottawa accord with the Hibernia project in the 1990s. At that time, the federal government invested $ 431 million for a 8.5% stake 100 in the operation.

Placentia suspends its hopes on the future of the project

A small town in Newfoundland faces the reality of economic collapse if Husky Energy raises the stakes and stops a major project.

Placentia is home to the Argentia Industrial Park, which in turn is home to the West White Rose Expansion Project – a $ 2.2 billion project to build a concrete structure to sit on the bottom of the ocean 350 kilometers offshore.

This has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was launched in limbo on Wednesday when Husky announced it was reviewing all of its operations in Atlantic Canada.

“Is this a ploy? Is it a tactic? No one is really sure what’s going on, but that’s not great news, ”said Placentia Mayor Bernie Power.

Scott Penney is CEO of the Argentia Port Authority. It has been in business for less than a week and Husky Energy is reviewing its operations in the province. (CBC)

For his town, a Husky exit would mean the loss of well-paying jobs, a port left without major projects, and dozens of local businesses with fewer paying customers.

Power said he is also casting a shadow over people’s hopes that the pandemic will end and prosperity may continue.

“We were optimistic because Husky was going to leave in 2021. We were optimistic 2021 was going to have a better start,” he said. “Now 2021 looks like a repeat of 2020.”

New CEO of the port in an unenviable position

Five days after starting his new job, Scott Penney can hardly believe his luck.

He is the new CEO of the Argentia Port Authority and faces the prospect of billions of dollars leaving the city and hundreds of jobs to dry up for good.

Penney still deals with the news, but has a bit of optimism.

“It’s a bit curved, but I think it will be fine,” he said.

The majority of work was halted in March when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC)

The wharf is quiet now, but on an average day on the West White Rose extension project there would be 750 workers grinding and gigantic cranes stretching skyward.

The concrete base will be 122 meters wide and 145 meters high. The project is 60% complete.

When Argentia brought in one of the world’s largest cranes, it drew the necks of interested people across the province. Since March, however, it’s a different story.

“It’s calm,” Penney said. “There is no traffic. There is no hum. There is no vibrant sensation in the surroundings. Nobody stops. ”

Penney hopes this won’t become the norm and calls on the federal government to get involved.

“At the end of the day, the federal government has to be a partner. And until that moment happens and until there is action, there will be a lot of hopelessness in Newfoundland households, ”he said.

Mayor Power says he’s hopeful something can be done.

“We would like this project to continue, it is 60% complete,” he said. “No one would have realized the possibility that the project would simply end. ”

Learn more about CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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